Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 445

Buyer beware

24 July 2009 / Issue 445

It's not safe to get back into property yet... PLUS:

  • The best stock to buy to profit from stem-cell research
  • The kingpin of the vicious world of sports retailing
  • How 'stimulus' packages undid the Romans


Who can you trust?

A story for those who think the credit crunch is over. We’ve just bought another new car. It’s a double-cab pick-up truck (not, I’m guessing, the kind of car you think of me as driving). It isn’t perfect. It’s white and seems to be made almost entirely of cheap moulded plastic. But it’s brand new; you can sit five people and many sheep in it; it has more gears than I think we’re ever likely to need; and it comes with a handsome cover for the open bit at the back.

Better still, thanks to the desperate attempts by the car industry to clear out inventories, we got it for 35% off the list price, making its end price similar to that of the second-hand version. It also works for us tax-wise. We’ve bought it as a commercial vehicle, and the government’s attempts to alleviate the effects of the recession mean we can depreciate it in full this tax year.

You may think all this sounds pretty good – one of Britain’s most pessimistic families is out spending to the benefit of both the UK and the US economies (our pick-up is a Ford). But look closer and it tells you all you need to know about the fragile state of confidence in the UK. 

• Read the full editor’s letter here: Who can you trust?